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No choice made on voting machines

Diane Erwin    Springfield News-Sun   26 April 2005

The Clark County Board of Elections will wait until next month to decide if voters will use an optical scan machine or an electronic touch-screen machine that was recently approved by Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell.

Despite Blackwell?s orders to make a ion by May 24 so that the new machines can be used in November, many local elections officials predict punch cards will still be used in every election this year.

?We?re getting to the point now that I don?t think we can deploy in November,? board Director Linda Rosicka said. She anticipates litigation from other counties to stall the process.

The board chose an optical scan machine in February. At that time, no touch-screen machines with a state-mandated paper trail were approved for use. That changed earlier this month.

Rosicka said she and her staff would prefer optical scan over touch-screen machines.

?We think in the long run optical scan will be less expensive to operate and maintain,? she said.

The board agreed to meet before May 24 to choose a new machine or affirm their choice. But both county Democratic Chairman David Farrell and Republican Chairman Dan Harkins wouldn?t be surprised if punch cards remain in use this year.

The board also approved Dan Martin?s petitions to run for Springfield city commissioner while denying those of Chris Kelley. Questions surrounded Martin?s petitions because some signers wrote only their street address without specifying they live in Springfield. An opinion from the county prosecutor?s office stated that the address is sufficient.

Kelley?s petitions were denied because they were filed after the board office closed and because of a lack of signatures. He needed 250 but collected 189 valid names.

In other business, the board:

Received a $31,000 grant for voter education and poll worker training.

Approved the purchase of a double-locking cabinet to hold absentee ballots. Two keys ? one held by a Republican and the other by a Democrat ? are needed to open the cabinet. The board will request funds from the county commission to cover the cost, which is expected to be less than $5,000.

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